24 Jul 2013

One week left to get free flu jabs

4:48 pm on 24 July 2013

Health officials are urging people at risk of flu to make sure they have the annual vaccination within the next week.

Wednesday 31 July is the deadline for those eligible for free flu jabs to get them before the subsidy period ends for this year. The vaccination will still be available, but there will be a small charge.

Free vaccinations cover people over 65 and those under 65 with long-term health conditions and pregnant women.

Children between the ages of six months and five years who have been hospitalised for respiratory illness, or have a significant history of it, are also eligible.

Canterbury virologist Lance Jennings says flu is at relatively low levels, but is around.

"Now is the best time to receive your annual seasonal influenza vaccine. It provides the best protection available at the present time against influenza A and B viruses that are circulating in our community."

Officials say 29% of New Zealanders have been vaccinated so far this year.